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madel SL-1

When I was a child it seemed that every mother was baking for all she was worth, turning out all sorts of fancies and iced novelties.  A lot of them are just distant memories now, but I can remember my mother getting very frustrated  in the kitchen when she couldn’t find a recipe she had been given for some fancy cake or other.  Always asking me if I had seen it?  As if!  My interests were limited to what Cindy was wearing, not worrying where my mother kept her recipe collection.  My involvement was in the finished product not how it got there.

Now I am all grown up, I too get frustrated in trying to recreate those same recipes, either by trial and error or by asking around.  Someone usually has a recipe handed down or can still remember how their mother made them. The same can be said for my Great Aunt Beatie’s recipe for clotted cream.  I wish now that I had taken notes.

It was in a telephone conversation recently that we discussed how fantastic everything was when we were children, days of ever lasting sunshine and school holidays that stretched on for ever, that the memory of Madeleines came up.  I don’t think I have seen them around for many decades so perhaps they are ready for a comeback!   The English Madeleines are very different to the French ones which are baked in shallow shell shaped moulds.  These are baked in dariole moulds covered in jam and then rolled in coconut.  The only major tip I would pass on, if you decide to make these, is to make sure you grease, grease again with butter and then flour the moulds, because the sponge has a tendency to stick.

Madeleines

Ingredients

100g/ 4 oz butter

100g/ 4 oz caster sugar

2 eggs (beaten)

100g/ 4 oz self raising flour

60 ml (4tbs) strawberry jam (or any red jam that is mainly jelly not whole fruits)

75g/ 3 oz desiccated coconut

glace cherries halved to decorate and a few mint leaves.

8 Dariole moulds

Method

Turn oven to Gas mark 4 (180C/350F).

Grease and flour 8 dariole moulds – this is one of the most vital parts of the recipe, if the moulds are not greased enough the cakes will not come out in one.  Put these onto a baking tray.

Beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs a little at a time.  Then using a metal spoon gently fold in the flour.

Fill each of the dariole moulds 2/3 full with the butter mixture.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (depending on your cooker) the cakes should be risen and when gently touched should spring back.

Cool slightly in their moulds.  You want them to have cooled enough to handle. If you remove them from the moulds straight from the oven they will break.

To turn these out I run a knife around the edge to loosen them and then gentle shake – they should come out in one.  Leave them to cool on a wire rack.

When the cakes are cool slice any excess from the bottom so that they can stand flat – I put mine back into the moulds and used the bottom edge as a guide.

Melt the jam in a pan and pour onto a plate.  On another plate spread the coconut out.  Either brush the cakes with the jam or roll the cakes gently in it, be generous making sure that the surface is covered otherwise the coconut won’t stick.  Then roll in the coconut.  The idea is to cover the tops and sides leaving the base clean.

Top with the glace cherry and serve.  To store keep in an airtight container.

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